Friday, August 29, 2008
I once read a comment that said the novel is the best way we have of talking about ourselves. I believe that art is another way we have of talking about ourselves. (Given the poor, unintelligible quality of much contemporary installation and video art this says a lot about human self knowledge!)
Contemporary craft in Australia illuminates and articulates our identity. Traditionally "The Bush" (as everywhere not in the city is known) has been a place of harsh landscapes and heroic sweaty, masculine types subduing or being beaten down by the unrelenting climate and isolation. Contemporary craftspeople are articulating the bush as a lyrical, poetic place of stillness, contemplation and subtlety.
Tania Rollond has been exploring landscape and memory for many years in her beautiful ceramics. Her latest work is a series of bottles. They reference human/nature interaction in their poetic titles such as "Bottle - An Autumn Crossing" and "Bottle - Rain & Light, Coming and Going" I love how Rollond has abstracted the landscape creating a meditation on our place in the land. This work is like a membrane, a conduit between culture and nature. Through Rollond's bottles the bush is redefined as a place of inspiration, and mystery not the be subdued or fought against but to be marvelled at. Rollond says that her work "do(es) not directly imitate nature, but parallel(s) its dynamics."
David Neale is based in Melbourne and has been exploring plant forms and nature in his jewelery. I love the sense of composition in these brooches. They remind me of Matisse's paper cut works from very late n his career. Once again nature and culture are bought together in an intelligent, non- didactic probing of the human place in the natural world.